CHARLESTON, Ill. – Despite a career high scoring effort from senior Frank Davis, the Tennessee Tech men’s basketball team fell short in a 97-93 overtime thriller against Eastern Illinois Monday night.
Just hours after being named the Ohio Valley Conference co-Player of the Week, Davis netted a career-best 27 points on 8-of-14 shooting including 6-of-9 from 3-point range. But Davis wasn’t the only Golden Eagle to reach a new career high. Alfred Jones scored a career-high 19 points and added eight rebounds. Kevin Murphy scored 17 points off the bench for Tech and Elijah Muhammad finished with nine points, eight assists and four rebounds before fouling out.
But in a game where each team had 31 rebounds and both teams shot at a nearly equal percentage (EIU hitting 32-of-64 while Tech hit 32-of-62), the difference in the game came in the turnover column. Tech gave up the ball 20 times, while EIU finished with just eight turnovers in the 45 minutes. It was the fifth consecutive game Tech shot 50.0 percent or better from the field.
“Our guys did a lot of good things, we have to get focused and put this behind us,” Tech head coach Mike Sutton said. “Were continuing to get good play from our guys. Every one of those guys has to contribute.”
The loss snaps a four-game win streak for Tech, and drops the Golden Eagles to 7-7 on the season, and 1-2 in OVC play. EIU improves to 9-5 overall and 3-1 in league play.
The Panthers were led by Jeremy Granger who scored 21 points and finished with three rebounds and three steals, while going a perfect 6-for-6 from the free throw line. James Hollowell finished with a double-double for EIU with 19 points and 12 rebounds.
The game was highly contested throughout, as the teams traded leads throughout the first half and neither team built a double-digit lead. Tech went into halftime trailing 44-41. The Golden Eagles would trail until the midway point of the second half, when Alfred Jones put the Golden Eagles up 62-61. The two teams would trade leads, but neither team would go up by more than four points over the final ten minutes.
With Tech trailing by four with 32 second to play, Frank Davis silenced the EIU crowd with his sixth 3-pointer of the night. T.J. Marion hit 1-of-2 free throws on the other end to put the Panthers up by two with 27 seconds to play. Bassey Inameti rebounded a missed shot from Muhammad, and put it back to tie the game 84-84 with 10 seconds to play.
In the extra frame, Tech again found itself down by four with a half minute to play. And again the Golden Eagles hit a clutch 3-pointer. This time it was Murphy pulling TTU within one. Dewayne Wright went 1-of-2 from the free throw line on the other end, but Frank Davis missed a potential game-winning 3-pointer with Tech down by two and 15 seconds to play. The Panthers hit a pair of free throws with 10 seconds left to seal the 97-93 victory.
The Golden Eagles have a quick turnaround before hosting Morehead State in league play on Jan. 7 in Eblen Center before playing Eastern Kentucky at home two days later. Tip off for both games is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
"We have to get ready in practice," Sutton said. "Coming in Thursday you’ve got Morehead’s men who were the preseason favorite, so that home-court advantage can help you win games."
All season ticket holders can receive an additional four tickets to Tech’s game against Morehead State on Jan. 7, part of a double header with the Tennessee Tech men’s team, as a holiday bonus from the Tennessee Tech athletic department. To claim bonus tickets, or to purchase tickets, visit the Golden Eagle athletics ticket office located in Eblen Center. Tickets can also be purchased over the phone by calling (931) 372-3940 or by visiting TTUsports.com.